'Bike and Bullet Lady Riders', a women's collective of bike riders based in Kochi and having members belonging to various parts of Kerala, is celebrating its first birthday on July 22. Currently functioning from Elamkulam in Kochi, the Lady Riders have already conducted bike trips to 12 destinations in the state. As part of the first anniversary celebrations, the riders plan to breach the frontiers of the state with a trip to Hampi.
Sonia, the path-breaker
Sonia Gracious, a bike instructor, founded the collective and leads it now. “Many women who loved to go on long bike rides had been forced to postpone their plans as they did not get the right company. So I thought that a grouping of women riders would help them set out on thrilling journeys,” says Sonia.
Interestingly, Sonia holds a light-heavy driving licence for goods and public transport vehicles, along with driving licence for container trailer, excavator, crane and forklift. She has applied for tractor and road-roller licence. According to Sonia, it was her father who directed her to take up driving by teaching her scooter riding by the age of 10 and bike riding by 14.
Sonia owns the costliest bike among the group members. She has a Royal Enfield Interceptor flaunting a price tag of around Rs 3 lakh.
Secretary of the collective Meera was also attracted to bike riding thanks to her father, a police officer. A native of Perinthalmanna in Malappuram district, Meera works in an IT firm in Kochi.
Rubiya, belonging to Elamakkara in Kochi, is the treasurer of Bike and Bullet Lady Riders.
Powerlifter, bike racer among members
Libas, a member of the Lady Riders collective, belonging to Thodupuzha has won a medal at the National Powerlifting Championship held last year. She is now preparing to take part in the Asian Meet.
Meanwhile, Anagha of Perumbavoor is interested in bike racing. “I have taken part in bike-racing events at Coimbatore and other places. Bike racer Fazeela has inspired and encouraged me,” she says. A nurse, Anagha has also displayed her talent in carrom. Painting is her other passion. Akhita, belonging to Thrissur, excels in bike stunts.
Sruthy Pradeep of Kochi is a multi-talented member of Lady Riders. Along with bike riding, she has earned an MA in Economics. She has also demonstrated her skills in classical dance, veena, violin, flute, jazz and melodica. Sruthy has learned kalari and taekwondo too.
Yet another member of the collective Mubeena, hailing from Tanur in Malappuram, is a film- theatre actress and model. Other active members of Lady Riders include entrepreneurs Geetha, Varsha and Sheena; homemaker Diana; shop-in -charge at Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala Kavitha; B Tech graduate Samjukta; B Tech Architecture student Amritha and television presenter Lini.
Age no bar
The ‘baby’ among the group is Ronsy from Edakochi, who is 18. The senior-most member is Ashadevi, a dubbing artiste and film-theatre actress. She is 52. Lady Riders has a grandmother among its members - Jemy Muhammed from Kalamassery aged 48. All of them are united in their love for travelling.
These members demonstrate that marriage or children are no hurdles for riding. Incidentally, most of the members are married and have the full support of their families. “Travels were a part of my life earlier also. However, being a member of the collective helps me set out on a journey any time I wish,” says secretary Meera.
According to Sonia, the collective was active during the floods offering relief to the victims. She is now looking for sponsors to support the trips as well as social service activities of the group. The monthly meetings of Lady Riders are held at Elamkulam. Members arrive for these meetings on bikes from even far-off districts. Meanwhile, riders employed in Kochi always travel to their native places on bikes, preferably the Bullet. Several members own new-gen bikes.
Next trip to Hampi
The Lady Riders have decided on their next destination - Hampi. With a tagline that says ‘Dream on wheels’, the collective is planning big trips and Hampi is the first step. This would be followed by rides to Kulu-Manali, Leh-Ladakh and other exotic places. The collective is inviting adventurous women who dare to dream to join its journeys. Those interested can contact Sonia on her phone number: 8075725536.